Lexington, OH. (June 13-16, 2013)
– After traveling through tornado warnings, and severe thunderstorms Robby was looking forward to getting on track for testing on Thursday. The day started of very wet, and Robby found out truly how treacherous Mid-Ohio is in the rain. The first session went well, as Robby was just working to find grip, which at Mid-O is hard to come by considering the amount of sealer on the track. The sealer turns into a very slimy slippery surface in the rain, and most of the surrounding areas near apexes are covered with this sealer, creating a very true rain line. The second session was going well until Robby’s left rear tire went down under braking off of the back straight causing him to spin off into China beach, but Robby was able to limp out of the beach and bring it in for a new tire. The third session was dry, but the Skip Barber testers had to test the cars, so Foley only had roughly four laps.
Friday was strictly a practice day with two sessions. Robby used the first session to evaluate the car, and work on some setup changes, not really going for a fast lap. He was finding the car to have a lot of under-steer so throughout the session Robby worked on making some shock changes to enable the car to rotate. The second practice Robby continued to dial in the setup, and did put down a fast lap of a 1:40.5, which was under the lap record putting him second behind Kenton Koch who was able to click of a lap in the 1:39’s.
Saturday began very early with qualifying, causing the track to be initially slick. Robby clicked of a few strong times early putting him on pole at first, but perhaps he used up the tires too early as the track came in. “I think I was too eager to go out and put down a quick one,” Foley says, “then I planned to do a slow lap to cool the tires and attempt one more flyer, but unfortunately I took the checker on that lap.” Qualifying in the Skip Barber Pro Challenge can be tricky, because the Skippy cars are held for approximately 10 minutes to give the Playboy Cup cars an opportunity to do two fast laps. After the duration of Qualifying Robby was sitting P3.
Robby was excited for Race 1 starting from P3. At the start Robby moved up to P2, on the bumper of Kenton Koch, but after slow cup car traffic held him up Foley dropped back to P4 and then in the ensuing lap in the carousel Foley had a run on Lucas Bize, and Drake Kemper as they were held up behind a Playboy Cup car, and as a result Foley exploited a gap on the outside that quickly closed, and Robby ended up driving off through the gravel. Robby then found himself DFL with a large margin to make up. After putting his head down for the remaining duration of the race Robby ended up with a podium in P3, a very good effort having to drive his way back through the field.
Race two was a good old fashion crap shoot as it was quite wet. Robby jumped up to P2 after starting P3, but then got roughed up a bit by some playboy cup cars, and subsequently dropped back. the next lap in madness Christian Tetzlaff spun entering turn 5 and began to spin to the inside, but he didn’t go both feet in, and lock it down, causing him to shoot back across track leaving Robby nowhere to go. The car sustained considerable damage to the left front corner causing tire rub and a cut down tire. Robby came in for a LF tire, and lost a lap. There was then a full course caution so at least the field was bunched up, but Foley was still a lap down in roughly 7th. In the remainder of the race Robby moved through the field passing some cars and ended up 5th, not bad for such an action packed race.
Overall Robby was pleased with his driving, and looks forward to the next race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport) in Canada, in July.
Photo Credits: Stephanie Foley